ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – After three young adults were found dead Tuesday morning in a home at Bent Mountain, Virginia, a records check showed two of them had ties to St. Augustine, Florida.
Miranda B. Trump, 18, of Roanoke, Brandon D. Dekle, 20, of Bent Mountain, and Cole P. Kennedy, 21, of Bent Mountain were all found dead at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Roanoke County Police later arrested 18-year-old Trevor E. Charles, a co-worker, in connection with the murders.
Uncovering a troubled past
Records show that Dekle and Kennedy lived in St. Augustine in 2015.
Kennedy’s family said that he lived a hard life and feared something terrible would happen to him.
“When he moved back up there, it wasn’t really a good area where he was living,” CJ Manucy, Kennedy’s grandfather, said. “Evidently he’d got hooked up with the wrong crowd.”
Kennedy was raised by Manucy for most of his life. Manucy said that Kennedy attended Mandarin High School his freshman year before dropping out.
“As long as he was here, he had to answer to us,” Manucy said. “And I think that’s one of the reasons he moved up there, so he wouldn’t have to answer to anybody.”
Hoping for a fresh start
Kennedy moved to Virginia about two years ago to be with Dekle, a childhood friend, according to Manucy.
Dekle’s aunt, Jessica Dekle, said that he moved up to Virginia to be with his father. She said he was a “beautiful person inside and out.”
Trump, Dekle and Kennedy all worked together at Bent Mountain Bistro, but Manucy said he still did not have the highest hopes for Kennedy.
“I didn’t expect him to be killed,” he said. "But I didn’t have high hopes because he was running with a rough crowd.”
Kennedy and Dekle lived together in the house where their bodies were found, alongside Trump, who was dating Kennedy.
Manucy said that he thinks the shooting may have been drug related.
“Stay away from drugs,” he said.
Roanoke Police were led to the home where the bodies were found after Trump's father expressed concerns about not being able to contact his daughter. He began searching for her and found her car had crashed down an embankment in the Bent Mountain area. No one was around. Police were informed at that time that Trump was missing.
Hours later, the investigation led police to a home on Bent Mountain Road. They knocked on the door but no one answered, so they entered the home.
In the home, officers found the bodies of Trump, Dekle and Kennedy. All three had been shot.
Charles was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He is being held at the Roanoke County/ Salem Jail. Police said the murders were not a random act and the public is not in any known danger, News4Jax sister station WSLS reports.